Staffordshire Police to be investigated over management of London Bridge attacker

Staffordshire Police will be investigated for its role in the management of London Bridge attacker Usman Khan following his release from prison, the police watchdog has said.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) had already begun an investigation into the fatal shooting of Khan by Metropolitan and City of London Police officers, which is standard for such incidents.

But the watchdog has now launched a separate investigation after they received a referral from Staffordshire Police relating to its contact with the convicted terrorist, who was living in Stafford, prior to the attack.

Usman Khan was named as the attacker by police. Credit: PA

After requesting further information from the force, the public body said it had concluded that a separate independent investigation should be conducted.

A statement released by the IOPC on Thursday said the investigation was “still in its very early stages”.

Sal Naseem, IOPC director of London, said: “Our separate investigation into the decisions and actions of Staffordshire Police has just begun and will be conducted alongside the investigation into the shooting.”

Cambridge Unviersity graduates Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, were killed by Khan during a prisoner rehabilitation event at London Bridge’s Fishmongers’ Hall on November 29.

Khan, who was armed with two knives and wearing a fake suicide vest, was tackled by members of the public, including ex-offenders from the conference, before he was shot dead by police.

Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones were killed in the attack Credit: Handout/Metropolitan Police/PA

It later emerged that Khan was released from prison on licence in December 2018, halfway through a 16-year prison sentence, after he was convicted of terror offences in February 2012.

The attack has prompted the Ministry of Justice to review the licence conditions of every convicted terrorist released from prison.

The IOPC said it began its investigation into the fatal shooting by officers immediately after the incident.

The police watchdog is examining the circumstances of Khan’s death and the actions and decisions – including the use of lethal force – of the officers involved.

Witness statements, physical evidence, CCTV and body-worn footage from the officers concerned are being used to aid its enquiries, the IOPC said.

It added that the public body had a duty to investigate fatal police shootings and stressed that no individual police officers were under investigation, with all involved being treated as witnesses.

Mr Naseem said: “Our thoughts and sympathies remain with all of those affected by the events of Friday November 29.

“This was a fast-moving and dangerous situation to which the police had to respond extremely quickly and I pay tribute to the bravery of all those who responded.

“We are liaising with the coroner and working hard to ensure our investigation into the fatal shooting is completed as quickly as possible.

“We will be updating Mr Khan’s family and the forces involved as we progress.

"At the request of the coroner, we are limited in the information we can release at this time.”